Media Matters: The Unpaid Research Department of Politico

Whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, everyone in media understands what Media Matters for America (MMfA) is really about.

MMfA is an online group of modern-day book burners, a tax-exempt gang of bullies and propagandists dedicated to snuffing out conservative political opinion from the national discourse. To accomplish that goal, the George Soros-funded organization uses boycotts, intimidation, and the like.

Another of Media Matters’ obvious goals is to affect the mainstream media’s political narrative using these same tactics. Any story that might damage the left is immediately targeted by MMfA, using outright lies and half-truths.

The bottom line is that Media Matters is not dedicated to correcting or clarifying or illuminating truth; they’re dedicated to a left-wing political agenda which they intend to achieve by any means necessary, including outright blacklists and censorship.

In this same vein, most of us who work in media know what Politico is really about. The online publication arrived in early 2007 and pulled one of the most effective cons in Internet history. By using all of 2007 to masquerade as a news outlet sincerely dedicated to honest and unbiased reporting, Politico was able to ingratiate itself with high-profile conservatives and conservative outlets.

It was all a lie, but we all fell for it, and through the Right’s generous links, praise, blog-rolls, and talk radio interviews, Politico rose in prestige and name recognition. Its power and influence in hand, in 2008 Politico threw off the disguise and came at conservatives with both barrels blazing in order to see Barack Obama to the White House. In the three years since, Politico has never looked back.

What prompted me to look into the possibility of an unspoken relationship between Media Matters and Politico was this story. As biased as Politico is, to witness Politico media blogger Dylan Byers use tactics perfected by Media Matters to push for a conservative’s firing from CNN was a new evolution for Politico–and not in a good way.

My research, which you’ll see below, was done through Google. For a site as sophisticated as Politico, its search engine makes it impossible to do any serious research.

Using Google’s refined search features, I decided to look at a three month period, from October 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012, in order to tally how frequently Media Matters was mentioned by Politico. Something else I looked for was the all-important context of those mentions. Politico might not believe in context, but I do.

What I found was fascinating. For starters, not only does Politico frequently cite Media Matters as an authoritative voice, but they’re both rather chummy with each other. In his Morning Playbook, for example, Politico’s Mike Allen wishes Media Matters staffers a happy birthday.

Moreover, Politico makes no secret of the fact that Media Matters is a left-wing organization. More often than not, Politico will qualify Media Matters as a liberal media watchdog. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong or even improper about all of this. Until, that is, you look deeper and see how often Politico follows Media Matters’ lead when it comes to what news is and is not worth covering. This is a perfect example from yesterday, but as you’ll see below, Politico is frequently inspired to write a story to amplify Media Matters’ point of view on a subject MMfA feels is either getting too much or too little press.

Again, this is not necessarily improper–until you dig even deeper and discover that Politico is completely indifferent and scarcely interested in anything Media Matters’ many counterparts on the right have to say. In fact, outlets such as Newsbusters, Big Journalism, Accuracy in Media, and the Media Research Center are almost never cited as serious sources or as a counter-weight to Media Matters. Worse still, when Politico does mention right-of-center media watchdogs, it’s usually to criticize or ridicule them or within the context of maginalizing them as “right-wing blogs” or just another part of the conservative noise machine.

Most interesting, however, is this. Ari Rabin-Havt is a Media Matters Executive Vice President who now enjoys a spot at Politico’s “Arena,” where he gets to sound off on subjects such as, “Is Newt Gingrich an embarrassment?” and “Has Boehner lost control of the House?” I only bring this up because he’s a fairly new addition to this segment which, I think, shows a tightening of the relationship between the two outlets.

Not too long ago, Politico crawled into bed with MSNBC. So holding hands with Media Matters would appear to be a natural evolution in Politico’s downward slide into the shameless pit of leftism disguised as objective media.

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Below are the findings from a good faith search that examines how often Media Matters for America is cited by Politico, and in what context. As you’ll see, over a three month period, MMfA popped up a total of 17 times, or about once every five days. By comparison, mentions of Newsbusters, the Media Research Center, and Big Journalism during this same time period totalled only eight times. And even though that statistic is in and of itself damning, as you’ll see below, the context of those mentions is even more so.

While Politico has written a couple of stories in the last few months critical of Media Matters, overall Media Matters is treated quite seriously and frequently cited as an authority by Politico. As you’ll see, it’s the complete opposite for right-of-center media watchdogs.

The bottom line is that the only media watchdog Politico treats with respect or authority is Media Matters–and not because MMfA is more accurate than other groups. Moreover, Media Matters is a frequent inspiration for Politico articles big and small.

Finally, many of the Media Matters stories linked below are excerpted and amplified elsewhere on Politico’s vast and varied site. I chose not to include those duplicate mentions in my analysis.

Media Matters for America mentions – 17

1. 10/18/2011: Left Sees Solyndra Coverage and Asks, ‘Where’s Keystone?’ – A story inspired by Media Matters and other left-of-center groups that pushes their narrative about what they see as too much coverage of Solyndra.

2. 10/25/2011: Watchdogs Take Aim at MSNBC, Buchanan – Another Media Matters-inspired story covering their successful crusade to get a right-of-center voice removed from the air.

3. 10/30/2011: Chris Wallace Says Mitt Romney MIA from Sunday Shows – MMfA statistics used in anti-Romney piece.

4. 11/09/2011: Bloggers Sound Off on Benjamin Netanyahu ‘Hot Mic’ – MMfA is quoted first and extensively defending Obama. The conservative point of view is found on page 2.

7. 11/10/2011: Herman Cain’s Fox Problem – In the heat of Politico’s partisan crusade to take down Herman Cain, Media Matters’ data is used to back up a Politico claim about Fox News.

6. 11/17/2011: Romney Emerges – Politico’s media blogger, Dylan Byers (who joined the failed Media Matters crusade to have our own Dana Loesch fired from CNN) loves him some Media Matters and, at least for a media blogger, has little to no use for conservative media watchdogs. At least not during the three months I examined. Here, Byers uses MMfA as an authority to make a case that Romney is ducking Fox News Sunday.

7. 11/18/2011: Will Conservative Talkers Turn on Herman Cain? – Another article in Politico’s left-wing jihad against Herman Cain. Here, Politico uses Media Matters to rub salt in the wound with a quote about Cain never being serious about running for president. Ugly stuff.

8. 11/18/2011Biden’s Hush-Hush Donor Address – A rare investigative piece from Politico that examines the Left in a less than sympathetic way. Politico reports the Media Matters attended one of the fundraisers in question.

9. 11/22/2011: Climate Scientists Scoff at Emails – Another Politico article that takes Media Matters’ lead and all but dismisses the second round of Climategate emails. It’s a nothing-to-see-here article designed to tamp down the scandal, something Politico is almost as skilled at as Media Matters.

10. 11/29/2011: Eric Holder to Daily Caller: Quit Pressing Me To Quit – Politico gives Media Matters the final two paragraphs to hammer the Daily Caller.

11. 12/1/2011: Fox’s Temptation: Newt – Dylan Byers again, this time citing MMfA statistics in a thinly veiled criticism of Fox News.

12. 12/14/2011: Fox-Freudian Slip? – Dylan Byers literally copies and pastes a MMfA cheap shot aimed at Fox News.

13. 12/21/2011: Herman Cain, Still Winning – MMfA emails the news, Dylan Byers dutifully publishes it. Amazing.

14. 01/05/2011: George Will and the Bradley Foundation – Media Matters digs up dirt on George Will, Dylan Byers dutifully publishes it. Will is another conservative MMfA would like to see off the air. Judging by his history with Dana Loesch and his excitement over this dirt, Byers is apparently excited at that prospect, as well.

15. 01/09/2011: Pruden Sends Out ‘Harmful’ Anti-Gay Email – It’s our old pal Dylan Byers again, this time using MMfA research to backfill his attack against the conservative-leaning Washington Times. Anyone else sensing a pattern here?

16. 01/12/2011: Mike Huckabee Defends Mitt Romney on Bain Capital (Updated) – The “update” in the headline is due to super-duper important information from Media Matters.

17. 01/12/2011: All the Truth That’s Fit to Print – The New York Times is thinking about calling people liars though fact-checking. Dylan Byers is all in favor of that and Media Matters opinion on the subject was worthy of an update.

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Newsbusters mentions – 3

12/21/2011: Blogs Bash Obama’s Historic Claim – Newsbusters is just another “blog” engaged in “bashing” Obama.

11/18/2011: Climb-Down of the Day – A nasty Dylan Byers’ snark-attack against Newsbusters.

11/9/2011: Bloggers React to Netanyahu ‘Hot Mic’ – A round-up of opinion.

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Media Research Center mentions – 4:

11/03/2011: Cain Flap Exposes Generation Gap – This piece, written in heat of Politico’s jihad to bring down Herman Cain, quotes Brent Bozell’s defense of Cain in a round-up piece.

10/31/2011: Cain Story Divides Conservatives– Another round-up article written during the Cain jihad, this one to show Cain’s support in the conservative community is fractured. Very self-serving article, to say the least.

10/18/2011: Huntsman Called Cooper Ahead of Debate – Incredibly, this is the only instance I came across wherein any statistics in reference to the media were used, other than from Matters Matters.

10/17/2011 Pew: Media Not in Love with Obama – Another self-serving article (1650 words!) surrounding a poll that suggests the media isn’t in the tank for Obama. About two-thirds of the way down, the MRC gets their say.

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Big Journalism mentions – 1:

12/20/2011: Blogs Bash Obama’s Historic Claim — Just another “blog” engaged in “bashing” Obama.

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Accuracy in Media mentions – 0:

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Daily Caller’s media writer Jeff Poor mentions – 0:

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Poltico, MSNBC and Media Matters sittin’ in a tree …

A threesome from hell.


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